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Jul 7, 2015

Keep Kids Learning with Summer Fun

Even when your children are out of school, it's important to keep their minds engaged and learning. However, during summer vacation, it can be tough to convince fun-minded children to sit down with a book when they could be playing instead. Fortunately, with a little creativity, you can trick your children into learning while they have fun.

Alphabet Scavenger Hunt

If your children are just beginning to learn their letters or have only recently learned to read, you can take them on an alphabet-themed scavenger hunt around your home and neighborhood. Clear a large space where your children can display their finds, and set up a space for each letter of the alphabet. As your children find objects that match the letters of the alphabet, they can set them in the appropriate space. You can give out prizes, such as small toys or a piece of candy, for matching the most objects of a particular letter or finishing a complete alphabet set.

Educational Destinations

If you’re planning to take your family on vacation, consider adding a few educational stops to your journey. For example, if you’re going to a coastal city, look for an aquarium that you can visit as a family. Before your trip, you can encourage your children to read books about marine life. When you reach the aquarium, your children will be more engaged and will enjoy seeing their books come to life. Children's museums are another worthy addition to any family vacation. These museums feature hands-on exhibits that let your children take command of their own learning. Instead of looking at dry exhibits and reading academic descriptions of artifacts from the ancient world, your children can crawl through a bug garden, explore an oversized human body, soar through a miniature solar system and much more.

At-Home Science Experiments

Sitting down with a science textbook might not engage most children, but if you give them some hands-on science activities that they can do themselves, many children will eagerly participate. You don't have to spend a lot of money or spend hours of your own time researching science projects; there are many activities that children can do using common household supplies. For example, the always-popular baking soda and vinegar volcano can help teach children about chemical reactions. On a hot day, you and your children can build bottle rockets out of old soda bottles and water; children love watching water-filled bottles shoot into the air, and the escaping water can provide a refreshing splash. A quick search on the Internet can turn up dozens of easy and exciting science experiments for your children.

Paper Crafts

There are a number of paper crafts that you and your children can do together, giving your children a low-cost way to create crafting projects that they can enjoy. Origami is a great first choice; you can start with some simple designs, such as boats or arrows, and let your children decide which shapes they'd like to make as they build their skills. If they prefer to make something that they can play with later, you can teach them to make interesting paper airplanes. Although anyone can make a basic paper airplane, there are plenty of advanced designs that reliably perform fun tricks, such as spins, flips and corkscrews.

No matter what activities you like to do with your kids during the summer, they can be prepared for the next school year!